You are looking for the least expensive option in foundation repairs for your slab home. You want the lowest-cost repairs you can get for whatever reason. It’s. Just. Gotta. Be. Cheap.
At Anchor Foundation Repair, we understand that foundation repairs are expensive. Fixing your slab costs real money that you don’t really want to spend on something as *un-exciting* as foundation repair.
Honesty Alert: We only use one method of slab foundation repair, and it’s admittedly not the cheapest. But, we’re confident enough to recognize that sometimes people have different needs and we’re not everyone’s perfect match. There are other foundation repair options out there for you and we can share with honesty what we know about our industry when you’re looking for the lowest cost.
This article will outline a cost hierarchy of slab foundation repair types from your cheapest to most expensive options. This way you can choose for yourself which one sounds best for you.
Reasons You Might Need the Lowest Cost Foundation Repairs
It’s not unusual to look for ways to save money and you don’t want to spend your hard-earned money unnecessarily or unwisely even if this repair is unexciting from a visual standpoint. Wow, that was a lot of UN words . . .
There could be many reasons someone needs the least expensive foundation repairs:
- You don’t have a lot of money,
- You don’t want to finance,
- You’re selling your house soon,
- You’re trying to turn a profit on a remodel, or
- You’re not interested in how long the repairs will last.
Bottom line: You just want the cheapest and are okay with the fact that it might not be the best, or longest-lasting choice. As long as you understand that there’s often a trade-off between cost and quality, there’s nothing wrong with needing to spend less money when your situation calls for it.
5 Foundation Repair Options from Least to Most Expensive
First, we will just list out your slab foundation repair options from the lowest to highest price points and then talk in a bit more detail about each one. Here are your choices starting with the cheapest:
- Do Nothing
- Install Hard Stops
- Pressed Pilings
- Drilled Piers
- Helical Piers
Now we’ve got some explaining to do . . .
1. Do Nothing
I know, I know . . . this sounds like no option at all or like we’re just being silly or something. But if we’re being really truthful here, doing nothing is the absolute cheapest way to handle your settled foundation and sometimes it’s a legitimate option. For example:
Let’s say you’re going to stay in this home forever and aren’t planning to sell it in your lifetime and:
- You only have a few signs of foundation settlement,
- The signs aren’t bothering you that much,
- The signs aren’t causing any major functional problems, and
- The signs don’t appear to be developing further or getting worse.
In a situation like this, no one says you have to do foundation repairs. Maybe you’re just feeling like you have to do the repairs because *someone* said that it’s what needs to be done. But if it’s truly not causing you anguish, stress, problems, and worry then doing nothing is obviously the cheapest way to go! Total cost = Zero Dollars.
Here’s more thought on the concept of, “What Happens If I Never Get My Foundation Repaired?” for you to ponder.
2. Install Hard Stops
I’m not sure that I would go so far as to call this a “method” of foundation repair, but hard stops are kind of a makeshift repair solution. In other words, you won’t find any respectable foundation repair companies out there doing this sort of thing.
This is your *two dudes you hired off the street* that *said* they could *do some foundation repairs* for you. I don’t mean to put this option in a bad light, but if you’re looking for cheap then hey, this kinda fits the bill . . .
Hard stops are installed this way:
- Dig holes periodically around the foundation about a foot past the perimeter beam
- Pour concrete to make a shallow footing and let it cure
- Set a jack to raise the foundation
- Pour more concrete in the hole to “lock in” the raised position
There are quite a few cons with this technique, namely that it doesn’t go deep enough into the ground to reach non-reactive soil. So it’s a temporary fix at best that will still be just as susceptible to further settlement in expansive clay soil.
At worst, the hard stop concrete gets in the way when you have to get legit foundation repairs done later on, resulting in extra costs to rip it out (on top of the extra cost of having to get repairs again too).
3. Pressed Pilings
Pressed piles are the most common method of slab foundation repair and these pilings can be done with concrete or steel. Pressed pilings are likely the least expensive widely used foundation repair method employed by reputable contractors and companies.
Pressed pilings work by pressing sections of precast concrete or steel into the ground one on top of the other until you can’t press in any more sections. There are pros and cons to using pressed pilings for foundation repair that we won’t go over here.
But the biggest pro that you’re likely interested in is the fact that they are not as expensive as the upcoming methods in the following sections.
There are variations in concrete pilings where there is a version that connects the pieces of concrete with a steel cable. Some companies, like Olshan Foundation Solutions, even have a hybrid version combining the worlds of steel and concrete pilings together.
Pilings made with concrete only will be the least expensive, then cabled concrete pilings would cost a bit more. Hybrid concrete and steel will be priced higher, and finally steel pilings would be the most costly in the piling category. The higher cost of all-steel pilings is not surprising due to material costs.
*BCS Local Tip* concrete pressed pilings and some cabled and hybrid methods are readily available here in the Brazos Valley area.
4. Drilled Piers
Drilled bell-bottom piers are made with steel-reinforced poured concrete and are all one piece rather than a bunch of smaller sections in the ground. Drilled piers take longer to install than pressed pilings because they are made on location instead of from premanufactured pieces.
Due to the longer installation time and man hours involved, drilled piers are more expensive than pressed pilings. At this point, we are out of the *cheaper repairs* section and are into repair methods that have some other value to offer besides being less expensive.
Drilled piers work on the concept of improved resistance to expansive soil uplift and settling due to the bell-bottom base of the pier. Drilled piers most closely resemble the types of piers installed during the initial construction of commercial buildings. Thinks of drilled piers as an *industrial strength* type of foundation repair.
*Another Local Tip* Drilled concrete piers are the method that we exclusively use here at Anchor Foundation Repair serving Bryan, College Station, and surrounding Central communities like Brenham and Navasota.
5. Helical Piers
Helical piers are the most expensive method of foundation repair and also the most high-tech repair process. Steel helical piers sort of look like long poles with a fanned-out screw-tip at the bottom. The thin steel piers are inserted into the ground and then turned – essentially screwed in – to secure them in place.
Helical piers are used frequently in commercial building applications as well as areas with high groundwater levels. They are also used more in higher wind and/or seismic activity areas. We don’t know a ton about helical piers because they are not widely used in our Central Texas area, but we know that they are pricey.
For more detailed information on all the slab-on-grade foundation repair methods, including helical piers, check out, “What Slab-on-Grade Foundation Repair Methods Are There? 6 Types.”
Are There Ways to Save Money on Foundation Repairs?
Other than choosing the cheapest foundation repair method, there is not much opportunity for discounts or savings with foundation repairs – they don’t go on sale. If someone is offering a coupon, it’s likely just a sales gimmick to get them through your door and into a sales pitch.
There’s no season when foundation repair contractors typically slash prices, especially here in Texas where we can work all year round. Perhaps in another region of the country that experiences much colder winters, a foundation repair contractor could cut prices to get a few more jobs in before they can’t work for a while. But that’s just a theory . . .
Our best advice on saving money on foundation repairs is just to choose the best method and company that you can so that you don’t have to do foundation repairs over again. A good warranty policy doesn’t hurt either. If you’re worried about high costs in the first place, then doing something twice is not an *optimal* money-saving tactic.
For more thoughts on saving money on foundation repairs, check this out: How to Get the Best Deal on Foundation Repairs for Your Home.
Choose Your Foundation Repair Contractor Wisely
Now that you know the ranked order of foundation repair solutions from cheapest to most expensive, I guess you’ve got to hire someone (well unless you chose option 1 that is). Take the time to research and choose a reputable established contractor with good reviews.
Anchor Foundation Repair has 35+ years of expertise in the Brazos Valley and a 5-star Google rating too. On top of that, our drilled piers are the gold-standard, tried and true foundation repair method with a lifetime guarantee.
We’ve made it no secret that we are not the cheapest foundation repair method around, but just in case you’ve changed your mind about going cheaper I thought I would mention that stuff. . .
You still deserve the best that your hard-earned money can buy so choosing a contractor you can trust is very important even if you are hoping for lower costs. This article on the Top 4 Tips of Hiring a Home Repair Contractor of Any Kind is a great place to start.